I remember that once a group of friends prepared a very special, very beautiful and very secret party for me. The party was so secret that they forgot to invite me. Later they told me that it was a beautiful celebration. Either way I thanked them for their good intention. But what happened to me once, happens every year to Jesus when many invite everyone but forget to invite Jesus, whom we celebrate his Christmas.
This year for the feast of the Holy Family, we proclaim the gospel of Luke 2,22-40. Luke seems to be combining two rites here: One is the purification of the mother following the birth of a child (Leviticus 12:1-8). The other is the presentation in the temple, consecration and redemption of the firstborn (Exodus 13:1-2, 11-16). The law requires a sacrifice of “a year old lamb for a burnt offering (Leviticus 12:6). However, there is a provision in the law for a woman who cannot afford a lamb. In that case, she is allowed to sacrifice two turtledoves or two pigeons (Leviticus 12:8). This offering of two pigeons tells us that Joseph and Mary are poor. Jesus begins his life in concert with the poor whose cause he will champion throughout his ministry.
Simeon praises God for allowing him to see “your salvation” and speaks traditional words of peace, salvation, and light. Then Simeon speaks less traditional words (at least for this temple where Gentiles are restricted to the outermost court), acknowledging that God has “prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles” Simeon gives us a very early clue as to the direction that salvation history will take.
In closing his account of this passage, Luke establishes that Mary and Joseph “accomplished all things that were according to the law of the Lord” another sign of their faithfulness to the law.